Ransomed: Down East Boys

downeastboys2016ransomedGRADE:  B+

  • Album – Ransomed
  • Artist – Down East Boys
  • Label – Sonlite Records
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date – 03/18/16
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)

SYNOPSIS:

A model for under appreciated Southern Gospel quartet music seems to always fall on the Down East Boys.  While listeners never seem to notice this group, they continue to release above par Southern Gospel music.

Lead singer and front man, Ricky Carden, celebrates 26 years with the Down East Boys in 2016.  While the group experienced their share of personnel changes the last several years, the vocal line-up on Ransomed is consistent with what the group has always provided Southern Gospel listeners.

The 2016 vocal line-up includes Steve Lixey (tenor), Ricky Carden (lead), Daryl Paschal (baritone) and Rick Walls (bass).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Down East Boys excel at picking those awesome up-tempo ‘barn burner’ type Southern Gospel songs.  Ransomed contains no less than five of these style songs.  So, put on your seat belt and prepare to be taken on a high-speed musical journey.
  • The first up-tempo stand out is the album’s first radio single; “One Way, One Name, One Door”.  Baritone Daryl Paschal takes the lead on a song that is going to be encored many times in the live concert setting.  A must listen.
  • Dianne Wilkinson’s pen is all over Ransomed.  She and Chris Binion co-wrote another up-tempo stand out; “I Still Remember”.  This song could have easily been recorded by the Kingdom Heirs.  I’m glad to see other deserving quartets finding stellar Dianne Wilkinson songs.
  • Near the end of the album, the Down East Boys hit you with another up-tempo ‘barn burner’ with “Now A Witness Am I”.  Concert attendees are going to have a grand time with all these stellar up-tempo Southern Gospel quartet numbers!
  • Don’t think the up-tempo features are the only good songs on the recording.  The mid-tempo, “That Wonderful Land”, is straight out of the 1980’s Southern Gospel playbook.  This song’s style will take you back to the popular songs of that decade.  I love this song!
  • New tenor vocalist, Steve Lixey, has the perfect Southern Gospel quartet vocal.  What a great addition to the group.  His melody/harmony work throughout the recording adds that extra punch on many of the album’s best moments.  Steve also turns in a nice feature on “A Thieves’ Paradise”.
  • Steve’s harmony work is evident on another stand out ballad, “The Song Of The Ransomed”.  Ricky takes the lead on a song that I undoubtedly believe will be a future radio single.  This song should also go over well in the live concert setting.  The big vocal choir adds that little something extra on the recording.
  • Jeff Collins adds another winning album to his producing duties.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “One Way, One Name, One Door”, “The Song Of The Ransomed”, “That Wonderful Land”, “I Still Remember”, “A Thieves’ Paradise”, “Now A Witness Am I” and “The Cross Speaks Louder”.
CRITIQUE:
  • While the choir added to the power house, “The Song Of The Ransomed”, I thought the added background voices on “Somebody Left The Door Wide Open” was a distraction.  The voices almost sound ‘canned’ and really takes away from the appeal of what would otherwise be a really strong song.
  • New bass vocalist Rick Walls only gets a small feature on the album’s closing song; “Pray”.  I would have also liked to hear new tenor vocalist, Steve Lixey grab at least one more feature.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Somebody Left The Door Wide Open” and “That’s What You Get For Loving Him”.

WRAP UP:

Are you one of those Southern Gospel listeners whom I spoke of earlier?  Have you ignored the music of the Down East Boys?  The only other question I have for you is why?  Please re-claim your Southern Gospel listener card before it is revoked by grabbing the Down East Boys, Ransomed.  I guarantee this album will be sticking around your musical playlists for months to come.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “A Reason To Sing”/Ensemble – Jason Cox, Dianne Wilkinson  2. “Somebody Left The Door Wide Open“/Ricky – Tammy Dunaway, Lori Kelley Woods  3. “I Still Remember”/Ensemble – Chris Binion, Dianne Wilkinson  4. “The Song Of The Ransomed”/Ricky – Sue C Smith, Dianne Wilkinson  5. “That’s What You Get For Loving Him”/Ensemble – Rodney Birch  6. “A Thieves’ Paradise”/Steve – Daryl Williams  7. “One Way, One Name, One Door”/Daryl – Roger Duncan  8. “That Wonderful Land”/Ensemble – Joshua Jordan  9. “The Cross Speaks Louder”/Daryl – Wendell Dean Smith  10. “Now A Witness Am I”/Ensemble; Ricky – Regina Walden  11. “Pray”/Rick; Ricky; Daryl; Steve – Ray Scarbrough

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2 thoughts on “Ransomed: Down East Boys

  1. Concerning Steve Lixey, I’ve heard that he had been considered for other tenor positions before joining the Down East Boys. If true, it blows my mind that he could be passed over for some of the other tenors in southern gospel music. I realize that other factors besides vocals have to be taken into account, but talent is talent. Ricky found a great singer in Steve.

    1. I have to agree with you on this post, We love that Steve Lixey’s singing Great Tenor and Great Cd. Thanks for a great review on a Great Group of Guys. Love the good sound and meaning to all their songs. Great Job Guys.

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